“Leaders Break Ground for Church History Library,” Ensign, Feb. 2006, 74
On Friday, October 7, 2005, the First Presidency and members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, as well as members of the Quorums of the Seventy, missionaries, and others, gathered for the groundbreaking for the new Church History Library. The building will serve as a mark of the significance of maintaining a connection to past and future generations through record keeping in the Church.
Work was set to begin later in 2005 on the 250,000-square-foot (22,925-square-meter) building, much of which will be underground. It will be built on a plot of land that had been used as a parking lot across the street from the Church Office Building in Salt Lake City. The new building will be similar in design to the Conference Center to the west. The building’s architects and specialists from the Family and Church History Department have consulted with experts in record preservation to ensure that the interior temperature, humidity, and lighting will best favor the preservation of Church records.
President Gordon B. Hinckley expressed gratitude that records had been so dutifully kept. “I wish to say with gratitude and appreciation that the custodians of the records of the Church through all of the years of its existence have been so conscientious and dutiful, helpful and devoted, in every respect to the duties that devolved upon them.”
In the prayer President Hinckley offered before the groundbreaking, he said: “As we look to the past and are reminded of the past, to that which has been preserved in history, our hearts are filled with gratitude and appreciation and love and respect for those that have gone before. Great was their work, tremendous their sacrifice. We thank Thee for them.”
In his remarks about the Church History Library, President Thomas S. Monson, First Counselor in the First Presidency, said, “We benefit from what our fathers did for us, and we have the privilege, through sacred records to be maintained here, to provide a legacy for those who follow.”
President James E. Faust, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, said, “I believe that the principal benefit for the making and the keeping of records is to strengthen faith in those who make the history and those who record the history and those in the future who read of that history.”
Elder Marlin K. Jensen of the Seventy, who serves as Church Historian and Recorder, said the current library in the Church Office Building has outgrown its capacity. He noted that Church membership has increased from about 5 million when the Church Office Building was completed in the 1970s to more than 12 million today.